Emily Berman: Does school choice actually provide a “better” school experience?

I find myself to never really think about the economic side of things, mostly because I get really upset when I realize that most successes in life depend on having money.  Dougherty presented the “shopping for schools” idea in a way that wasn’t entirely disheartening.  It does seem to be a cycle though; parents with money move to an area with other parents with money, they value education more, they push for better schools and are more involved with their children’s school work, and these kids, in turn, make more money and follow the same pathway as their parents.  I think the second option Dougherty proposed, turning around the urban schools where they are, is our best option.  I like the idea of magnet schools and being able to go to a public school that is not necessarily in one’s district, but I think it is a more sustainable solution to turn around local schools and have children attend school where they live.  This saves in transportation cost, and if the United States makes a solid effort to improve the public schools, no matter where they are located, no ones’ “destiny will be determined by their zip code.”  At my public school, we had a program where inner city kids in Boston could be entered in a raffle to attend our high school in the suburbs.  Yes, these kids got a “better” education (whatever that actually means), but it also meant that these kids had to travel up to three hours a day to and from school, and could not stay after school for extracurricular activities or extra help in their classes. They may have been at a “better” public school, but they didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of all it had to offer because they were based so far away.

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